There are many options in the process of making a mosaic mural: the first is ceramic tile mosaic, the second adds hand made tiles into the mosaic and the third is using stained glass to create a mosaic window.
Mosaic murals are community projects that are suitable for all ages and abilities. I tailor the artist in residence program to the age category and needs of the school. Usually the school administration chooses a theme and allows the students to create drawings. I combine some of the students drawings into a unified design and then I make a pattern for the mosaic. Some schools want the school crest or logo as the mosaic image and this simplifies the program. The students work on the mosaic as if it were a large jigsaw puzzle. Variations on the mosaic process are: glass mosaic, combining handmade tiles with ceramic mosaic and adding interactive or found objects.
I supply all of the materials and tools to create the mosaic and I install the mosaic onto a surface provided by the school.
Exterior mosaic murals must be made of vitrified tiles to withstand freeze and thaw conditions. For this reason I often make the mural tiles by hand. It is an extension of the mural process because now students are working with clay and glazes. Students have had so much fun with this process that I included it as an option for interior murals. It gives students a piece of the mural that they can point at and call their own. The design process is the same as the mosaic murals but with the hand painted tiles we can include detailed images that would not be possible with ceramic tile mosaic. The mosaic process evolved further when I had a request to include small objects. One school wanted to include a skeleton key from the school's history and it evolved further by including interactive objects like the kalimba and little bottles.
Glass mosaic murals are exciting to make because you can use melted glass blobs, mirror, iridescent glass, crystals, prisms and glass beads. This project was part of a larger mosaic project. The theme was "A place where leadership, collaboration and innovation blossoms". Division one and two students worked on a ceramic tile mosaic for the first three concepts. Division three students worked with the glass. This mosaic depicted "blossoms".
We used bicycle gears, melted glass blobs and mirror. The gears tied the concept to innovation and we tried to create a flower motif to illustrate the blossom part of the school theme.